by Dan Gibson
I'm really on a roll here with online feuds lately, strangely with two near-polar opposites ideologically ... first with the fine people of the anti-Monsanto movement, now with local afternoon talk show host, James T. Harris.
Here's the chronology as I see it:
1. On his blog, James T. Harris included the Weekly as conspirators ina Steve Kozachik-led "anti-Christian pro-homosexual assault" on Grand Canyon University at El Rio.
2. I commented on the post (no response) and then tweeted Harris to find out how exactly we were a part of such an assault with our two news items on the controversy. Frankly, we had a number of conversations about the whole situation, with a number of different opinions, but we're certainly not working for anyone in the matter.
3. Harris replied a few times, going back to his strange (to me) Matrix analogy, but never really answering the actual question. Why did he lump us in to a conspiracy we had nothing to do with?
4. So, listening to Harris' show a few times that week (during which I heard Harris claim that Obama is gay at least twice), I wrote in my Editor's Note this week that I didn't understand the guy's popularity, partially because he doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense ("RED PILL, PEOPLE") and partially because he's just irritating to listen to, stumbling over words on a regular basis and acting almost as a parody of right-wing talk radio, which I listen to far more than anyone would likely suspect.
5. First, (stealing a line from Brian J. Pedersen) my favorite writer at the Arizona Daily Independent, "Opinion," took up the case, seemingly accusing me of racism, because I don't like Harris' show or I can't understand that there are people of color within the conservative movement. Or at least that's what I think the unsigned writer meant. I'm a little unclear, but it is the Independent after all. Then, Harris took to Facebook to claim that my not understanding or liking his show means I "hate" him (actually, he said "Hate! Hate! Hate! Hate! Hate! Hate!"), followed by dozens of his listeners calling the Weekly "a rag." Really, it might be time for new insults. Just throwing that out there.
5a. A sidenote: Among talk show hosts in this town, it seems to be a funny bit to claim that I left Clear Channel under strenuous circumstances, that I fled because I was terrible at my job there. For the record, I left because the Weekly is a far better place to work and I got a five digit pay raise to become the editor. Pretty simple stuff.
6. Now another post on Harris' blog, where he claims I don't understand him because the show is funny (no), that he's an entertainer (no), like Jon Stewart (no), but without the staff (maybe). Also, apparently, the best way to understand me is to think of the character Simple Jack, from Tropic Thunder. Also, somehow, Robert Griffin III came up and he blog-sings part of "We Shall Overcome." I really have no idea.
So, I really want to work this out. James says he's done with the whole thing, but since part of his claim is that I don't have the right to criticize his show because we've never met (?), let's take care of that on his show. His fans can get out what seem to be some anger issues with the Weekly over the phone and Harris could decide for himself whether I'm a simple-minded bigot. After all, if Peter Rosenberg and Nicki Minaj could squash their beef after last year's Summer Jam debacle, I imagine James and I could have a delightful time talking out our issues on the radio airwaves as well.
If you agree, feel free to get in touch with James T. Harris. I'd love to see this conversation happen, so I'll start off by making another request on Twitter. Feel free to join in, using the hashtag #jamesanddanhugitout.
@jamestharris You know, we really should meet up and talk things through. What day should I come on the show? #jamesanddanhugitout
— Dan Gibson (@DanGibson520) June 6, 2013